Farewell, Jacob Turner.
Today, apropos of the earlier discussion on the 40-man roster heading into the offseason, the Chicago White Sox claimed righty Jacob Turner off of waivers from their Northside neighbors. Turner, 24, didn’t pitch for the Cubs in the big leagues this year after suffering a variety of arm injuries, the last of which culminated in surgery that ended his season. His status for the start of the 2016 season is not entirely clear to me.
And that’s the thing with Turner: the upside, as a former top prospect who was rocking some nice velocity and movement in Spring Training, remains theoretically high. But his health, and his ability to harness that stuff at the big league level, remain in question. Because of the waiver priority rules at this time, it appears that Turner made it past nine other teams before being claimed by the White Sox.
Turner was eligible for arbitration, in which he probably would have made about $1 million, so, had he not been waived, the Cubs would have had to make a tough decision on him anyway. No, the $1 million is not necessarily the tough decision part – it’s the 40-man roster spot he would have required all offseason. Furthermore, Turner is already out of minor league options, so he would have to make the 25-man roster out of Spring Training, otherwise he would have had to go on waivers at that time. Is it worth keeping a guy on the 40-man all offseason for that chance? The Cubs decided it was worth taking a chance on waiving him now to see if he would clear.
That is all to say, it was always exceedingly possible that Turner would not open the 2016 season with the Cubs. That’s just the way his contract situation, and arm, crumbled. It’s the end of a disappointing run for Turner with the Cubs, who looked like they were getting a steal back in August 2014 when they nabbed Turner from the Marlins for a song.
Hopefully for his sake he is, indeed, healthy, and can stick with the White Sox coming out of the Spring. He’s obviously a talented guy whose career has never really taken off.